Rainy Summer a Drought Buster?

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A summer full of heavy rain and flooding hasn't done much to relieve the drought here in Colorado Springs. In fact, we've received about 10 inches of rain in June and July, but reservoir levels are still low.

The experts say all this rain isn’t helping because it’s from “hit and run” storms that only increase stream flows for a few hours. They say the solution to the drought is heavy snowfall this winter.

Even the data shows we've had a lot of rain this summer. "As you look at the statistics, we're ahead of average for this time of year. We've already received more precipitation than we got in either 2002 or 2003,” says KKTV Chief Meteorologist Mike Madson. But he says it's not helping our water supply that much, and there are several reasons why.

"You see a lot of water in the streets running down and it looks like a lot of water. But in reality, its here and gone very quickly, whereas the snow melt is very steady and a lot more volume," says Kevin Lusk with Colorado Springs Utilites.

Lusk also points out that many of the reservoirs that supply our water are high up in the mountains---where it hasn't rained as much as it has down here. "The little bit we've seen from the rain has helped. But it’s certainly not added enough to take away our concern."

And extended forecasts say the drought will likely continue for at least the next few months. "Bottom line, it took us a while to get into this. It'll take us a while to get out of. But we're certainly moving in the right direction," Madson says.

But it’s not all bad news. All the rain means people are watering their lawns much less---reducing water usage. "Back in May, we were running right around 115 to 120 million gallons a day during that very hot and dry spell we had. Now were looking at about 70. So if you look at that difference, that's about 50 million gallons a day difference,” Lusk says.

Lusk is hoping for lots of snow this winter. He says if that happens, they may loosen water restrictions next spring.